On 1 October 1993, the Church of Scientology obtained tax exemption from the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This ended 26 years of what the Church itself has described as a "war" against the IRS, in which it used extraordinary and in many cases illegal tactics - bugging of government offices, theft of mountains of classified files, private detectives pursuing senior government officials, thousands of lawsuits, full-page attack adverts in US daily newspapers, and so on.

So perhaps it is not such a great surprise that the settlement itself came about in some very unusual circumstances, raising questions about the actions of both the Church of Scientology and the IRS. Neither party has been willing to provide answers, with the IRS refusing to disclose the terms of the exemption agreement in defiance of a court order and US taxation law. But with the leak in December 1997 of the secret agreement, the relationship between Scientology and the IRS is under greater scrutiny now than ever before.

These pages, whilst not making a judgement on whether the Church legitimately earned its tax exemption, are intended to be a clearing house for reports and court records on the Scientology vs IRS controversy.

* Scientology's attitude towards taxation and government
* The battle for tax exemption, 1952-1980
* Why is the Scientology-IRS battle such a big deal? - a personal view
* Timeline of Scientology vs the IRS [KEYDOC]
* Scientology vs the IRS: Legal archive [NEW!]
1993: Scientology gets tax exemption
* David Miscavige announces the end of the "war" with the IRS [KEYDOC]
8 October 1993
* Excerpts from Church of Scientology IRS 1023 Tax Exempt Application [KEYDOC]
* Scientologists Report Assets of $400 Million [KEYDOC]
22 October 1993 (New York Times)
* IRS-Scientology Pact Prompts Withdrawal Of 45 FOIA Lawsuits
26 October 1993 (Privacy Times)
* A letter from the IRS "promoting" Scientology
16 August 1994 (sent to the German Government)
1994-97: the secret agreement unravels
* What We Know About The Scientology Closing Agreement
10 January 1994 (The Cult Observer)
* Details Of Scientology Closing Agreement Slowly Coming Out
26 June 1995 (Tax Analysts)
* Tax Analysts uncovers IRS's privileged treatment of Scientology
29 June 1995
* Tax Analysts v. IRS: Undisputed Material Facts
13 July 1995 (Tax Analysts)
* The IRS is ordered to disclose the secret agreement
15 March 1996
* District Court Orders IRS To Release Field Service Advice
21 March 1996 (Tax Analysts)
* The Shadowy Story Behind Scientology's Tax-Exempt Status [KEYDOC]
9 March 1997 (New York Times)
* Scientology issues contradictory statements on its tax exemption
19 March 1997
* Scientology Denies an Account of an Impromptu IRS Meeting [KEYDOC]
19 March 1997 (New York Times)
* Scientologist Exemption Back in the News
4 April 1997 (Tax Analysts)
1997-98: the agreement is leaked, but raises many new questions
* The text of the secret CoS-IRS agreement
(from the Wall Street Journal)

* Scientologists and IRS settled for $12.5 million [KEYDOC]
30 Dec 1997 (Wall Street Journal)
* Scientologists Settled With IRS
30 Dec 1997 (Associated Press)
* Scientology Paid Government $12.5 Million Under Terms Of Agreement [KEYDOC]
31 Dec 1997 (Tax Notes Today)
* Church of Scientology Reached Agreement With I.R.S.
31 Dec 1997 (New York Times)
* I.R.S. Eyes Probe After Disclosure of Confidential Scientology Pact
1 Jan 1998 (New York Times)
* Sellout to Scientology
6 Jan 1998 (St Petersburg Times)

* Deana's Co$-IRS Agreement Analysis [KEYDOC] (Deana Holmes)
* Unanswered questions about the agreement (Deana Holmes)
* Scientology has already violated the agreement (Tilman Hausherr)
* The agreement violates the public's rights of inspection (Jeff Jacobsen)
* The strange links between the CoS-IRS agreement and the Snow White Program [KEYDOC]


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Last updated 7 February 1998
by Chris Owen (chriso@lutefisk.demon.co.uk)